UNCG issued it's 2022 holiday card video today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4Kg8EKmyl0 . It is a very, very good video- kudos to the team that made it,
Yet, it reminds me a bit of the university commercial spots during football games, or university magazines, which rarely capture any essences of a campus, because they all highlight the same kind of things and bang you over the head with them, often requiring naproxen just to get to the end.
I was reminded today of the 2020 UNCG holiday video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-qifRCi1o4 one of my last acts a provost, and the only reminder, really, of how much I loved my time as Provost and my professional relationship with the chancellor. This is a rare university video that one wants to watch until the end. It's strength was fully capturing the essence of UNCG, without saying a single word about the campus.
Although I am biased because I play two bars of piano in the 2020 video, it really did capture so much of the essence of UNCG by singing a song about hope. It captured the campus' inclusivity, its creativity, and its joy as a campus community, without saying a word about UNCG. In many ways, I wish the 2020 holiday video was used in our current student and faculty recruitment, even though it doesn't say a thing about the quality of education, research, the beauty of the campus, etc. When I watch it, I want to be a part of the UNCG community, (or perhaps because my ego is so insatiable). I have never seen any marketing materials from another campus that have used that approach.
My administrative career ended a couple of weeks after the 2020 video was released. That was followed by a lawsuit, intense disabling anxiety, and being enveloped by a sea of anger. Let's just say it was a very dark time, only made somewhat lighter by the joy of returning to teaching and no longer being stuck between the rock and hard place where administrators live.
This Fall, Yom Kippur traditions led me to a tzedakah offering an olive branch to those who hurt me in the form of offering to make a donation in their name to their favorite charity. The offer was declined by all. But, the attempt at tzedakah was healing. for me.
So, I was able to watch this 2020 video again and experience the joy I had at the moment and the love of the transformational mission of UNCG.
It feels like that much of that sense of joy and community is lost now- lost to enrollment declines, budget cuts, faux caring, and a loss of trust throughout the community. I hope the UNCG ship can find its way out the hurricane currently enveloping the campus..
Nonetheless, it is nice for me have this video as a reminder of the joy I felt being provost here